GREEN SEATS: Ford Escape to use Recycled Upholstery

by , 01/31/07

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, InterfaceFABRIC Reycled Upholstery, Ford Escape, Hybrid vehicles, recycled fabric, recycled automotive upholstery, green car seats

Upping the green ante in the hybrid car market, Ford and InterfaceFABRIC recently announced that the new 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid will have 100% recycled fabric seating – a first in the U.S. automotive industry. What’s more, the new upholstery also employs an innovative backcoating technology, developed by Interface, that minimizes the use of traditional flame retardant chemicals. Hmmm, does that mean no more toxic new car smell?

is a division Interface, Inc., makers of the popular FLOR carpet tiles and an industry leader in industrial ecology. The upholstery used in the 2008 Escape utilizes recycled post-industrial polyester derived from soda bottle resin.

+ Interface Press Release
+ Ford Press Release

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  1. Ronald Iocono January 24, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I read with great interest most of the posts. I am considering a 2008 Escape Hybrid. I too agree we need to make smaller more fuel efficient, or fuel-less vehicles, but as a Paramedic I see the reality on the roads. Until the roads are filled with smaller vehicles your larger vehicles are safer. I see the result of a REAL collision, not the insurance institue tests. Until you see a mangled body in a vehicle..enough said. Two recent collisions were Chevy Suburbans vs a mid size auto and a Dodge Dakota. The combined speeds were in excess of 100 mph. Driver of Dakota (DOA). Looked like he was decapitated, but actually just MANGLED. The Suburban had a Mother and three children. Only injury was to Mom’s pelvis from her foot being on the brake, and one child suffered a broken nose. By the way, the Dakota jumped a median. Happened so fast the Mother had little time to react. If she was in a Prius they would have been crushed. Yes, I have been on scenea where cars were actually run over by trucks, or run under trucks. Point being, the market needs to change. If the Big Three don’t get it, then soon those that still have jobs in the USA will be driving foreign built vehicles.

  2. Kera-Anne Smeesters-Kir... April 15, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    i think this is a great step into re-using fabrics/materials.
    now from recyling the interior of the car why not recycle the exterior too :) it would be great if we could reuse scarp metal to make the body of the car instead of wasting more sources. by making new body’s we are wasting so much energy.

  3. Kim March 9, 2007 at 1:06 am

    I think it is a step in the right direction. I think the comments above about people only wanting small cars is simply a reflection of the experience of those individuals who are not taking into consideration ALL of the people who do not live in cities. All you have to do is look around at all of the biggger vehicles on the road. I, for one, live in a state where on the weekends we fill the car with gear and hike, camp and/ or paddle all weekend. Frankly a mini cooper, or a prius is not going to get me to the trailhead, or hold a kayak. So, then what are my choices? Not go or buy a gas guzzling vehicle? I love to utilize the environment that everyone is arguing to save. I agree with environmental causes, I want the environment to be there for my enjoyment. That is why I would pay more money to have a hybrid SUV like Ford has created, then to just buy a gas vehicle. My father is a long time GM worker, but they do not offer anything that comes close, so, despite a discount, and lower pricing, I would rather buy a Ford Escape Hybrid.

  4. Zac February 24, 2007 at 12:33 am

    “I still cannot understand why the US car producers don’t understand that people today are looking for smaller cars. How could their product strategy became so totally wrong? Look at the image above… it does not look serious…”

    US car producers DO understand that some people are looking for smaller cars. GM, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler all have several offerings for the small car market. However, the US manufacturers (including the transplants like Honda and Toyota) also realize that the small car market is not the only market. In order to even try to be profitable they have to sell a variety of vehicles to a variety of customers. This means that they also have to sell trucks and SUV’s of various sizes. In Ford’s case, they took their greenest SUV(it gets better milage than a lot of cars) and worked with a company to make use of an environmentally friendly technology where it made economic sense. I don’t see why this should be criticized.

  5. paul February 9, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Personally, I think they’re doing a good thing. We would all love it if everyone stopped buying large vehicles, but unfortunately that’s just not reality. Besides, there are actually legitimate reasons for needing a large vehicle. At 32/29 mpg (4WD) and 36/31 mpg (FWD), this isn’t bad… for an SUV. Most large SUVs are in the 15/20 mpg range.

  6. Serge de Gheldere February 5, 2007 at 10:00 am


    It’s not cynicism. It’s _first things first_ It’s pareto: where can we find the 20 % of the causes that are causing 80 % of the damage. For individual mobility it’s simple: go to fiberforge, work with them to make a composite body (higher cost materials, lower number of components and lower cost of assembly), put a smaller engine in the car and done.

    Even the ‘green press’ has a responsibility: we have to choose our battles as consumers, engineers, business leaders, and therefore focus on the priorities at hand, and not go hooray for everything that even vaguely smells like green.

    But: point well taken, though: there’s no harm in them doing that, but it’s just unfortunate that they haven’t allocated these resources to real leverage points in their design/production process.


  7. AbbeyK February 4, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    I wish I could find a large vehicle with good gas mileage in the luxury market. I regularly need to haul large items. I got an 8′ piece of wood in my Acura and it was safe to drive, ie not ready to impale me if I stopped short.

    Last week, I had to pick up a truck full of lights to deliver to a job site. I also had to get myself to the job site, so it is more efficient for me to take it than for me to drive than it is for me to get myself there and also to hire a currier or a trucking company to deliver the stuff.

    My cross over gets not the world’s best mileage, but only a little worse than my 98 Saab I used to drive. I’d love to drive a prius, but I just cannot get enough stuff in it, that’s why I got rid of the Saab.

    When I was looking at cars, the Lexus, BMW and Acura SUVs among other large vehicles despite their mileage are selling very well. I see them all over the nice suburbs.

    It’s a complicated issue. For me, it’s a real dilemma. I’d happily swap out my truck for something else, if only it existed.


  8. Emma Goldman February 3, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Yeah, too bad my husband’s 12-y-o Saturn gets better gas milage. This is a measly PR stunt.

  9. Susan February 1, 2007 at 10:51 am

    With Ford’s recently posted biggest annual loss in history, their efforts seem to be a bit late in coming. Too bad they didn’t figure out that what consumers need are small, fuel efficient cars with sustainable materials…they had their chance…I remember the gas lines in the 1970’s.

  10. Marc January 31, 2007 at 4:01 pm


    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of this news item and its worthiness on this site.

    1. The car in question is not a “gas guzzling SUV” but one of their hybrid offerings, created with Toyota’s hybrid engine technology. Granted it’s not the world’s most environmentally sound car, but taken in consideration with what is available on the market, it is a step in the right direction. Ford and Toyota have announced a long term partnership to further develop use of hybrid technologies in future vehicle designs. This is a positive development. Aluminum, composite, low-drag bodies have undoubtedly been on Ford design team’s radar for decades. Let’s reward positive behavior and maybe it will encourage more. Kind of like working with a four year old child.

    2. As you mentioned, Interface has been one of the leaders in advancing sustainable materials and reducing the carbon footprint in their business practice. Ford’s partnership with this widely admired company on promoting the use of sustainable materials is a sound, environmentally positive decision on the part of Ford management. The chance that this relationship has the potential to move further into the mainstream of the organization is a positive development. Would you fault Ford for the green roof built on their River Rouge plant because (insert any number of outrages here)? Again, why not acknowledge and reward positive developments and adoption of sustainable systems?

    3. Why would you endorse being critical about any organization making a material commitment to sustainability in any way? (As in an actual production commitment not just a vague announcement). From the little I know about you, I thought one of your business consultancy’s roles is advising companies and organizations on how to incorporate sustainablility into their design thinking. Would you have turned down the assignment to consult with Ford on their car-seat materials program because it didn’t involve changing the fundamental production methods and construction materials they use to assemble cars?

    I understand your position on holding companies with historically environmentally unsound practices to high critical standards and I agree to the concept of being rigorous and emphasizing substantive change. However, the situation we are in is so dire that any announcement made to this end should be rewarded and publicized in the hope of encouraging further action and commitment to sustainability on the part of the company. If negativity, cynicism and criticism are working for you, I’d like to hear about your results.


  11. David Carlson January 31, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I still cannot understand why the US car producers don’t understand that people today are looking for smaller cars. How could their product strategy became so totally wrong? Look at the image above… it does not look serious…

  12. Serge de Gheldere January 31, 2007 at 7:02 am

    I think Interface really lead the way in terms of sustainable business thinking. However, the net environmental gain of using this material in a gas-guzzling SUV is completely insignificant ! I think you should not commend this, but rather be critical about it. I thought you were joking when I read the heading. This could have been an piece in the Onion. Seriously: first things first. People will be confused as to what to take on first.

    In this case: it’s switching to aluminium or composite, low-drag bodies, so that the payload vs. dead weight ratio is dramatically improved, and allows for smaller engines and alternative energy sources to be used.



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